Criminal mischief is the vandalism or destruction of property belonging to someone else. Some individuals perceive vandalism as a minor offense, but it could result in felony criminal charges when damages to the property exceed $1,000. In addition, we often see criminal mischief charges with a domestic violence designation, which has extreme consequences (36 classes over months and months of probation in most cases, and we won’t even talk about worst-case scenarios).
If you are facing charges for vandalizing or destroying the property of another, a Colorado Front Range criminal mischief lawyer could help you fight the charges. Jenn and Justie at Nicol Gersch could defend you against criminal charges and safeguard your legal rights. A skilled defense attorney could also fight for you and help you get the best possible resolution to your case.
Criminal mischief is an offense against property and is outlined in the Colorado Revised Statutes Annotated under section 18-4-501. The statutes define criminal mischief as knowingly damaging another person’s property during a single criminal act. This includes property owned jointly with another individual or property in which others have a proprietary or possessory interest.
Examples of actions constituting criminal mischief include:
Criminal mischief also includes other forms of vandalism not listed above, including many things done in the context of a breakup or divorce. A knowledgeable Colorado Front Range criminal mischief lawyer could explain the laws and how it relates to an individual’s case.
Misdemeanor criminal mischief involves causing up to $1,000 worth of damages to property. The specific penalty imposed upon conviction depends on the total amount of the damages, but restitution to repay the damage caused is usually also ordered.
M3 criminal mischief occurs when the damages are less than $300, and is punishable by a $50 fine and up to six months in jail. Property damage valued between $300 to $750 is charged as an M2 and is punishable by a fine between $250 to $1,000 and 3 to 12 months in jail.
M1 criminal mischief involves damages between $750 and $1,000 and is punishable by a fine between $500 to $5,000 and imprisonment for 6 to 18 months. A criminal mischief and vandalism lawyer in Colorado Front Range could explain the possible penalties associated with a specific misdemeanor offense.
Felony criminal mischief occurs when the damages to property total $1,000 or more. Damages between $1,000 and $5,000 are an F6. The penalty is a fine up to $5,000 and a prison (not county jail, but state penitentiary) sentence between 12 to 18 months.
F5 criminal mischief involves damages between $5,000 and $20,000 and is punishable by a fine up to $100,000 and a prison sentence between 1 to 3 years. Property damages between $20,000 and $100,000 constitute F4 criminal mischief, which is punishable by a fine up to $500,000 and a prison sentence between 2 to 6 years. F3 criminal mischief occurs when damages total between $100,000 and $1 million, the penalty for which is a fine up to $750,000 and a prison sentence between 3 to 12 years.
Criminal mischief offenses involving damages exceeding $1 million are charged as F1 felonies, which is the same as murder, to put it in context. The penalty is a fine up to $1 million and a prison sentence of 5 to 24 years. In addition, enhanced sentencing parameters can apply if criminal mischief was committed within an otherwise violent crime or if habitual criminal statutes are applicable. Mandatory periods of parole are likewise part of any felony sentence. A diligent criminal mischief attorney in Colorado’s Front Range could answer questions about the penalties for felony criminal mischief offenses.
You do not have to fight criminal mischief charges on your own. If convicted, you could be sentenced to a period of incarceration in jail or prison. It is in your best interest to work with a Colorado Front Range criminal mischief lawyer.
Justie and Jenn could fight on your behalf and help you build a defense. Call us today to discuss your case.